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English roads much worse than Welsh, council leader claims

10 Oct 2022 3 minute read
Potholes and poor road surfacing. Picture: Pixabay.

Twm Owen, Local Democracy Reporter

The state of roads in England is much worse than in Wales, a council leader and keen cyclist has claimed. 

Anthony Hunt, the Labour leader of Torfaen County Borough Council, said he has found while out on his bike that highways in Wales are better maintained than those across the border. 

He said: “As a cyclist, on narrow high tyres that shake you about if you hit a pothole, I find if you go over the border into England the state of roads, including classified roads, deteriorates considerably.” 

However, the councillor, who represents Panteg, acknowledged residents in his own local authority area may not agree that the condition of roads across the borough are improving. 

He cited figures in a highways report that showed the percentage of principal A roads in an “overall poor condition” had dropped from 2.48 per cent in 2018 to 1.7 per cent in 2022, and over the same period the percentage for B roads in a poor condition fell from 4.77 per cent to 2.4 per cent, and C roads from 4.4 per cent to 3.2 per cent. 

“I suspect many members of the public will scoff at that a little bit, but that may be based on their experiences outside their own homes which are on unclassified roads,” Cllr Hunt said. 

“It’s inevitable, I guess, that if we prioritise the highest speed and highest volume roads, for both safety and other things, that it’s the backroads, the residential roads that are unclassified, that will no doubt suffer but if you tried to flip it the other way round you’d have more accidents caused by potholes and things.” 

He said the challenge for the council and its “finite resources” is how it maintains residential roads, and footpaths, while also keeping the main roads in good condition and in communicating that it must spend money “where safety dictates”. 

No data

Council officer Rachel Jowitt said the authority is “pretty comparable” to others in Wales on road conditions but added: “We don’t have the data with England to do those comparisons it is only be what we may see as cyclists or as a driver.” 

Torfaen’s cabinet had been discussing the authority’s Highways Asset Management Plan, known as the HAMP, which is used to guide where it should spend on projects from repairing potholes to major road resurfacing and which also helps the council identify safety risks. 

The HAMP has been in use since 2019 and runs until 2025 and was discussed by the cabinet as part of a mid-term review.


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George Atkinson
George Atkinson
1 month ago

The A55 when it goes into England is a right state. As soon as you hit the border its pure litter and rubbish on the English side. Looks a right dump.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 month ago

I would agree, the roads around Hereford, Leominster, Ledbury, and further south Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire are abysmal in some areas and the roads around Slough, Burnham and Beaconsfield are lethal, real death traps for bikers.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago

Herefordshire don’t even bother to grit most roads which are in a shocking condition. I have to drive 250 yards into Hfds to get to our Co-op and that is more than plenty.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

The A470 through my part of the world makes me proud, The thought that tourists from abroad are in a state of rapture as they drive through God’s little acre…

Last edited 1 month ago by Mab Meirion
Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

I would tend to agree with the general thrust of the discussion. We used to drive regularly from Cheshire to Ceredigion and once over the border from Wales into Shropshire the ride became atrocious. Bits of Cheshire were OK, but almost all of Shropshire seemed to be dire. Most Ceredigion main roads and many lesser roads are excellent.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

You and all others who have to cross the border have my sympathy…

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